I’m a bit of an impatient person and when I have a firm idea or a picture cemented in my mind about something, I almost can’t wait for it to materialise. We’re just having some building work done to give us more space in our small, nearly 100 year old house and also taking care of much needed maintenance.
It was horrendous at first. Mud. Just a huge amount of mud everywhere! The dog was having his legs washed in the bath three times a day as he was getting plastered just by stepping outside the front door! It was slippery and I stayed indoors a lot as I was scared to go out in case I took a tumble! Gradually, the weather improved and the ground dried, grass started growing in the back garden again and the extension took shape really quickly. It was all very exciting!
Then we had a few hold-ups. Things not arriving on time, tradesmen letting us down. And here we are, three months in and so close… but just not quite close enough! Doors haven’t arrived so we’re not fully secure or watertight yet, and remain boarded up, living in the cramped front part of the house! Every day I just long for something to make a significant change to this situation! The plasterers are finishing off today, the electricians are here again at the end of the week. The kitchen is arriving soon but many other things need to happen first! It’s enough to give you a nervous breakdown…!
I have a brilliant builder (a family friend!) who has project managed, walked the dog and put up with my constant crying and many, many questions – on top of doing a huge amount of physical work! He really is a godsend. The thing is though, that I must be patient. I have no choice but to wait till everything is completed. I am relying on human frailties and somewhat broken supply chains to provide everything needed to get the job done.
When Jesus hung on the cross, several things took place which fulfilled prophecy, before he finally bowed his head, declared, “IT IS FINISHED!” and gave up his spirit. In the most hopeless and helpless situation (or so it seemed to those watching) he was not murdered by the Romans – or the pharisees. His life was not taken from him. He gave it! He was in full control of events and there was a plan!
John 19:28-30 NKJV
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
I know there is a plan for my house. I know that certain things need to happen before it will be finished, but it will be finished at some point and I’ll enjoy being here. I am learning patience and more reliance on the Lord along the way, which is no bad thing!
But Jesus’ work was finished long before I was even born! I, along with every other person on the planet, have a cast iron guarantee, written in blood, that everything that needs to be done has ALREADY been done! The way to the Father has been restored and we are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness (the sin of being separated from God) by simply believing and trusting in who Jesus is and what he has done! He made a new covenant, a new agreement, with God wherein it states that whoever believes in HIM will not perish but have everlasting life. It’s a case of trusting the process! But not everyone knows it and not everyone will believe it. They will keep waiting for an answer that has already been given.
John 3:16 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Can you imagine, if the doors and windows had been fitted, the kitchen was installed and everything was brand new and shiny, ready to step into and use and enjoy, but we decided to leave the doorway into the kitchen boarded up and never go in?! If we just carried on living in the old part of the house and feeling sad and frustrated because we wanted so much more…
Imagine no one ever told you the kitchen was FINISHED! Get my drift…?
Walking through the wooded glade
A wondrous scene before me laid;
The beauty of the bells so blue
A dusky carpet through and through.
The canopy above allows
The coolness of the shady boughs
To bring relief from sun and heat
And dapples underneath my feet.
What bliss, and privilege, to be
On God’s green Earth, alive and free.
To see the beauty he has made
Whilst walking through this wooded glade.
I feel as though I am sitting in a little rowing boat called Grief, with no oars, bobbing about on the ocean.
Sometimes the weather is good and I drift and feel calm in the sun, other times it’s stormy and I get thrown about, feeling scared and lonely, and I cry a lot then. But I just have to hang on and stay in the boat and go where the waves take me, because I’m on a journey. I know that eventually I will see land and when I finally step out of the boat, I will feel stable and grounded. Even though I’ll remember the trials of the journey, they will not have a hold over me but just be a part of who I am.
No one can accompany me on my journey in this boat, but there are people I can see in other boats, called Encouragement, Comfort and Support, just a little way off. They have to keep a distance, but knowing they’re out there does help. I have to be careful not to take on worry or upset or too much responsibility, and resist allowing it to sit there with me – or yes, my boat will surely sink. There is no capacity for anything else – especially things that weigh heavy.
I appreciate the friends and dear ones who let me make this painful journey without judging me. People have a tendency to say (either with their mouths or their eyes…) “Oh, are you STILL drifting aimlessly in that old boat? You need to stop that, it’s not healthy. Why don’t you flag down a bigger boat and get a tow, or jump in and just start swimming to shore? You need to get back to normal…”
Don’t they know I’m too tired and too scared and frozen in my thoughts and memories to do anything except just sit and hang on? I have no energy. I can’t think clearly. Every day I just look at the boat and the water… it’s where I am – until it’s not! But there is no normal anymore. If I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that! But a new chapter in my story awaits once I’ve completed this particular journey. I can’t hurry it, and I think it’s best not to try. All wounds heal at different rates – and this is a big wound! It’ll take time. How much time, only the Lord knows…
I thought I was ok, but now I know I’m not and I have to give myself permission to be where I am for as long as is needed. It’s not where I thought I was or, indeed, expected I would ever be. I’m used to carrying on, being strong for others who need me. It is humbling, that’s for sure, but I’m convinced that something good will come of this one day. Whether it’s allowing others the opportunity to step up, knocking down my pride, letting me empathise with others who feel this way through bereavement or some other kind of loss… In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. ❤
In a nutshell! Brilliant explanation.
Sermons on climate change… hmmm… Of course, we are stewards of God’s creation, intended to appreciate and care for it as we live in it, but the highly politicised climate change agenda, the increasing focus on the Earth as a sentient being with feelings, is becoming a false god. The (established) Church is not here to preach what secular people want to hear, it is here to feed the saints and encourage and build them up so they can GO OUT. Jesus never said the Church should tailor the message to suit the audience so that non-believers don’t feel uncomfortable. If anything they SHOULD feel uncomfortable because they have a sinful nature which is revealed in the presence of the Light of the World! The original Church of new testament BELIEVERS met in their homes and broke bread and fellowshipped together. They encouraged one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. They built each other up and then WENT OUT. The harvest is outside not inside!
Churches should not regularly make their services suitable to attract non-believers, the so-called “seeker friendly” services, which can end up being weak, watered down and almost apologising for the faith we have, talking only about a generic and impersonal “God”, rather than Jesus, Father, Lord… so as not to offend or alienate anyone.
Revivals are born out of strong, biblical preaching of the undiluted gospel, out of prayer and by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No revival has ever come unless the Lord is lifted up! It’s just not possible!
The more politically correct the Church becomes, the more it is weakened.
Colossians 2:6-8 NIV
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
Believers need to be fed; built up in the knowledge of the truth so that their light SHINES when they go out into the darkness.
Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Our “good works” are to do the things that God prepared in advance for us to do. Above all to believe on Jesus, but to care, to comfort, to speak, to feed, to teach, to encourage, to help, to be his ambassadors and go where and to whom he sends us. …To go where HE SENDS us and be like HIM wherever he puts us. He equips us at the time of need to do what he asks of us. Man does not persuade man to be saved. The Holy Spirit draws and convicts men and they are saved by FAITH in Christ alone!
Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
It’s not about numbers, not about “bums on seats” and being “relevant” to the masses, not about planning “seeker friendly” outreach. People are dying! There isn’t time to waste focusing on the wrong thing. God is always now, today… He is I AM. Where is our prayer? Where is our wholehearted devotion and worship? He says TODAY is the day of salvation!
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Jesus – and Jesus alone – is the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no way to the Father but through him!
Last August, I was visiting my in-laws, about half an hour away from home and, just as I was thinking of leaving, there was a huge thunderstorm! It rained hard for about an hour then brightened up. I was debating which route to take home as it was now the rush hour. I knew one route tended to flood somewhat when water drained off the hilly field alongside, but it was a main road which would be quicker and I reasoned that as it had only rained for an hour it would be fine…
Oh, how wrong I was! As I rounded a bend, all I could see was a queue of traffic and what looked like a turbulent, dark grey river across the entire carriageway, which stretched forward for some considerable distance! We crept along, but the more shallow side favoured the oncoming traffic which, very ungraciously, refused to give way! The camber on the road is quite steep, so I knew the other side of the road (our side) would be under much more water. Every now and then a car from our direction managed to get through, but the gap between the waiting vehicles was closing, so that it became impossible to turn round and go back the way we’d come.
When an opportunity came for the car in front of me to go through, the next oncoming car sped up to block the gap. The driver was clearly not prepared to give an inch, so the car before me, and myself following close behind, had to move into the middle of the carriageway. As the car in front ploughed through to the other end of the flood, a large oncoming van then pulled out, face to face with me (already in way deeper than I wanted to be!) and was giving me no choice but to move over even further into the really deep part – just because he had a large vehicle and he could bully me to move! It was an absolute free for all!
I have driven through quite substantial floods in the past without trouble, but I was now really out of my depth (pun intended!) I prayed out loud and struggled on, but my battery light came on and my engine died…
Strangely, at this point, all my stress and anxiety just evaporated and I felt a strange sense of calmness and inevitability. A real sense of peace actually. The worst I could imagine had happened and I could do nothing to prevent it. I rang home to report my predicament and then rang the fire service for help. I sat in my car as the foot-well slowly filled with cold, dirty water and waited to be rescued. As buses and large vehicles confidently powered through the deep water, waves slapped up against the side of my car and pushed me closer to the opposite verge. It was like being helplessly adrift in a rowing boat and not a pleasant experience!
My rescuers were wonderful. They didn’t laugh at all but were sympathetic and eventually pushed me out as they couldn’t connect to the towing eye which was well underwater. I rang for a breakdown truck and waited. I was beginning to feel cold and shocked. Eventually a nice man turned up and winched my car up onto his truck, as what looked like half a lake poured out of the vehicle.
The next day my poor car was officially declared a write-off and I was devastated. That vehicle had been my private place of prayer and worship, and somewhere to be on my own and think as I drove. It was also my sole means of transport to go visit and help the people I supported, as public transport links are poor where I live.
My husband started looking for a similar car online for me. I didn’t have a lot to spend on one and had no idea how much I would get back through the insurance on my 15 year old/95,000 mile vehicle. Surprisingly, he found a car quite quickly, at a dealer less than an hour’s drive away. It was exactly the same make, year and model, but with only 32,000 miles on the clock! It was within budget – and even the first half of the number plate was the same! How ridiculously amazing was that?! I rang the garage, we went to check it out and I bought it! We agreed that God does indeed have a great sense of humour as he fathers us!
Also, the insurance payout yielded exactly twice as much as I’d figured I might get – a double portion you might say! In spite of my sudden and shocking loss, I felt very blessed, loved and provided for by Father God. And had I not had this situation happen to me, I might not have appreciated the exceptional love and care that he provides for me every day!
But why am I telling you all this…?
Because two months later, when my husband was lying unresponsive on the floor, with me desperately performing CPR and calling him to come back to me as I waited for the paramedics to arrive, a thought flashed through my mind. In an instant, I knew that he was going to die and I could do nothing to save him, but the Lord was telling me it would be ok and to let go.
As I heard the ambulance pull up and the clatter of doors, and voices outside, I laid down beside that dear man one last time and felt the warmth of his body next to mine. It was only for a handful of seconds, but in that moment I surrendered the love of my life into the Lord’s eternally loving care and let him go.
I remembered the peace I felt when my battle through the flood was over and I knew I’d lost my car. I felt that the Lord had allowed this to happen so I was prepared for this much greater loss and ready to look to him for comfort and provision, which he is always willing and able to provide in the most unexpected and miraculous ways.
I’m not going to say it’s been easy. It hasn’t, but I am blessed. And my husband was blessed to leave this world suddenly, without pain or suffering. In spite of my shock, it’s what I would have chosen for him had I been given the choice. I mourn my loss, and my sons’ loss of their dad when they are only young men themselves, but I rejoice that he is with Jesus and will know only perfect peace, perfect joy and perfect love for the rest of eternity. ❤
If you know Jesus, you are never alone, never abandoned, always loved unconditionally and with a passion. The Lord has been, and remains, my Rock! I hope and pray that if you are going through something really difficult right now, he is your Rock too! His love never fails.
Who could have imagined, even just 2-3 years ago, how much life across the whole planet could change in such a short period of time? How fear, and compliance with the “rules” (to keep us all safe, of course!) would become part of our everyday lives so easily.
My “fear” during the first lockdown was not of catching covid, but of getting caught by the police for visiting my friend who lives just a few roads away from me, and suffers from severe anxiety and chronic pain. She was all on her own apart from a volunteer dropping a bag of essential shopping at her doorstep every week and was in severe distress. She may not have had covid, but her suffering was genuine and I felt compelled to go to see her, to comfort and reassure her.
However, I was brought up to be respectful and obedient to the laws of the land and those who uphold them, so I felt hugely stressed and guilty going to her home, sneaking in through the back garden and expecting to be hauled into a police car at any moment (which didn’t happen of course!) I do remember thinking to myself, I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be afraid of the police or feel like I’m deliberately breaking the law! It’s just not in my genes! But my heart was telling me this was more important and worth the risk, for the sake of her sanity and wellbeing.
Yet, I have seen so much contradiction coming from central government; masks don’t help, masks are essential, vaccines will stop the spread, oh wait… no they don’t, they just prevent you from getting it so severely but don’t stop you catching or spreading it, so give no protection to anyone else. Flip, flop… Who knows what is true or accurate any more? We’re just getting swept along on the tide of covid-mania!
It’s a bit like the “war on terror” after 9/11. I remember watching the terrible scene unfold on TV at the time and telling my young son, “Remember this day. It’s the day the world changed.” And sure enough, in came strict new laws and restrictions; the many being punished for the actions of the few. But any catastrophe, whether man made or not, that has such an acute emotional effect on humans across the globe, enables change that would not be stood for in lesser circumstances.
As Christians, there are a few things we should be bearing in mind through all this…
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Phil 1:21
We need to keep a cool head and remember where our true future lies, and with whom. He is the one who protects us, provides for us and who will keep us, both here and in eternity.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Rev 12:11
This verse in context may refer to the “tribulation saints” but equally applies to us. We should not love our earthly lives so much that we try to hang on to them at any cost and are afraid to let go and trust Jesus with whatever comes next. When we are here, he is with us, but if we should die, we are with him, forever.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Is 41:10
I have committed Psalm 91 to memory and speak it out often, along with Psalm 23… His Word is in me, in my mind and in my spirit and I choose to believe it is the truth. What the enemy fears most, and what he tries his utmost to destroy, is our belief in a mighty God and in the truth of his Word; that we have a Saviour, a rescuer, who is ALREADY victorious! The enemy wants us helpless and afraid, trying to do OUR best to protect ourselves and our loved ones. God’s word says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” He is SITTING because his work is finished! It’s not about us, it’s about him!
Let the WORD of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Col 3:16
Brothers and Sisters, “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore take up the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of TRUTH buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of PEACE. In addition to all this, take up the shield of FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of SALVATION and the sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.
So beautiful! If you’re missing corporate worship during this time of covid restrictions, join in with the stars and the whales and give praise to our God!